tv Countdown With Keith Olbermann MSNBC May 12, 2010 1:00am-2:00am EDT
and one of the founders of the family research council lately involved in a program promising therapy to help homosexuals recover, caught with a rent-a-boy. and comments from michael musto. all the news and commentary now on "countdown." good evening from new york. at two separate senate hearings representatives from three oil drilling companies agreed on one key fact about the gulf of mexico oil spill, it is too early to start pointing fingers at them. it may be quite an appropriate time to point fingers at everybody else. the afternoon hearing kicked off with inhofe and vitter of louisiana saying not that it is
too early for finger pointing. it is too early for congress to speak to the executives because cleanup is underway and they are needed back on deck to resume skimming the scum from the gulf. how the deep water horizon rig worked. it was owned and operated by a company called transocean. bp hired transocean to bring the rig to the site in the gulf and drill and operate the well there. drill, baby, drill. halliburton was hired to do the cementing, sealing the pipeline that led back to the rig. if you believe all those companies today, we know all those companies screwed up somehow and it is too early to blame any of those companies. we begin with bp north american president lamar mckay talking about the questions about halliburton's cement work and about transocean. >> why did transocean's blowout
preventer fail to shut in the well and release the rig? bp as a leaseholder and operator of the well hired transocean to drill that well. transocean as owner and operator of the deep water horizon rig, had the responsibility for safety of drilling operations. we don't know yet precisely what happened on the night of april 20th, but what we do know is there were anomalous pressure test readings prior to the explosion. these could have raised concerns about well control prior to the operation to replace mud with sea water in the well in preparation for the sets of the cement plug. >> in his prepared remarks transocean's president reminded the senate that offshore drilling begins with the operator. in this case bp. mr. newman seldom mentioned who did the cementing. halliburton. he wondered if that may be the treason blowout preventer did not, you know, blow out prevent.
>> the one thing we know is the evening of april 20th there was a sudden, catastrophic failure of the cement, casing or both. was the well properly designed? were there problems with the casing or the seal assembly? was the casing properly cemented? and the well effectively sealed? were all appropriate tests run on the cement and the casing? were the blowout preventers damaged by the surge that emanated from the well? >> halliburton safety chief had hard questions about the work done by two out of three companies testifying today. telling the senate that halliburton did exactly what bp hired it to do and none of this would have happened if not for the failure of transocean's blowout preventer or bop. >> no one should rush to judgment. however, two things can be said with some certainty. the cases shoe was cementing 20
hours prior to the tragic incident. had the b.o.p. functioned as expected this catastrophe would not have taken place. i need to emphasize halliburton is a service provider to comply with the well owner's instructions and work related activities. is confident that the mississippi cannon 252 well was completed with the requirements of the well owner's construction plan. >> first back to the spill thrill on the hill with msnbc political analyst howard fineman and senior washington correspondent and political columnist for "newsweek." >> hi, keith. >> left out after few fingers in the finger pointing. the mms the mineral service that oversees the drilling. the obama administration acknowledged there are problems
with a big shakeup. can you add that finger into the equation? >> by the way, after talking to democrats after the hearings, i think there should be a bs preventer up on the hill. that didn't work either. as a matter of fact. here is the thing. the minerals management service, you use the word oversees this process. that is precisely what they haven't been doing. that goes back to the bush administration, but, frankly, it continued in the early days of the obama administration. the fundamental problem with that agency which is part of the department of interior, is it has two conflicting jobs. one is to collect money from oil leases, amounting to $13 billion a year, a big chunk of change for the federal treasury. their other job is to supposedly see the leases are proper, they won't cause environmental damage, they have been properly investigated for safety and environmental management.
this agency has been a mess for years. out in their denver office there was literally sex going on between the regulators and the industry. >> mm-hmm. >> and that's who these people are and i think the obama administration only now is seeing that they needed to begin the shakeup the moment obama came into office. >> there's oversight and there's oversight. so -- the bp shareholder who sued the company today claiming bp was knowingly cutting safety cost in violation of the commitments after the texas refinery blast, texas city and spending $16 million to lobby against regulation. how long is that bush era voluntary self-regulation regime going to last now? >> i think it's going to end because it's got to end. i think that's clear. what happened here is that bp
presented a plan for drilling this deep well that was based on an earlier environmental impact statement of the whole gulf of mexico that was done under the bush administration and said, hey, the bushies said it was fine. please approve this. the person at the minerals management service that was supposed to take a close look at it said, well, okay, if the overall plan was approved for the whole gulf and it won't cause serious environmental dangers i'll approve this specific one. he waved it through last april and you see the result. the democrats i was talking to pointed out there is a conflict in what they said in the application for the lease, they had systems to control damage that would happen and what bp and halliburton and everybody else is saying now, we are trying everything because this is all a new thing. >> a fair number of republicans are calling for stricter regulation. do we expect to see them onboard if bills get written or are they calling for it and hoping it
happens without a bill being passed? >> let me try an analogy. in the john wayne movies when john wayne jumps off the stagecoach to get in with the horses not for the purpose of riding them but slowing them down. that is what is happening here. they are jumping down in there to slow the horses because there is a going to be a lot of sentiment on the hill to greatly restrict offshore oil drilling even though president obama proposed it. >> do you have video of that? >> of him proposing it. >> no. of senator mckowske jumping on the horse? >> not now. >> check with your "newsweek" colleagues. howard fineman, as always, great thanks for your imagery. >> thanks, keith. let's turn to joe romm senior fellow for the center of american progress and author of "straight up" the subtitle too long for television. thanks for joining us, joe.
>> thanks for having me, keith. >> should we be relieved in a perverse way now we know no one was at fault? >> it was a remarkable circular firing squad. bp said, hey, they just leased the rig and the blowout preventer should have avoided the whole thing. transocean said the blowout preventer didn't work because there was a blowout. halliburton said they were following orders. do we want these guys between us and a massive oil spill? i think the bottom line is until we really figure out what happened here we have to put the brakes on new drilling. >> everybody got blamed except the dinosaurs who died creating the oil. halliburton said they were following orders not just about this spill, but a spill with totally different owners and operators last year offshore off australia. any way we can help halliburton avoid all these irresponsible oil companies that keep screwing up the halliburton name?
>> one has to remember this was a company run by dick cheney. >> really? i didn't know that. is it true? >> it is rumored. dick cheney is still in hiding so we are not for sure. cheney was in charge of relations for this industry for eight years. halliburton will avoid irresponsible companies if it stops working for british petroleum. >> either one of them was at fault in which we can't trust them with the safety of our waters and shores or none of them was at fault in which case there might be no way to prevent this from happening again for certain and either way doesn't that mean no more drilling? >> yeah, i think we need a commission like we had after the "challenger" disaster, the "exxon valdez" disaster. one has to be reluctant to keep going down this voluntary trust
us self-regulation approach. absolutely. >> i mentioned the shareholder lawsuit against bp by one of its own people. how much could that be in terms of trouble? the company is accused of violating the terms of its settlement after a similar suit followed after the horrible blast at texas city. what now? >> the company has been reckless. it has the worst safety record in the business. but the fact of the matter is it is making money hand over fist. it can pay for the cleanup with four days of profits. the only thing it is going to notice is number one, very serious regulation put on the industry. number two, we've got to cut back on the oil subsidies to this industry. and number three, kerry and lieberman are going to announce a clean energy bill. we have to get off the dirty, unsafe fuels of the 19th century and on to the clean safe fuels of the 20th century once and for all. >> there is an argument being made using this. do you understand the parameters
of the argument being made by some in the republican party this is a reason to drill more? this disaster is a reason to do more drilling. is that because we lost so much oil during this disaster we have to find more to replace the oil that the oil companies just blew? >> i think it is safe to say everything is an excuse to drill more according to conservatives. the bottom line is we can't drill our way out of this problem. we use 25% of the world's oil and we have 2% of the world's oil reserves. it is time to push energy efficiency and clean energy. >> joe romm, great thanks for your time. there is considerable finger pointing over the latest nominee to the supreme court. on the right, the nonsense. on the left about serious stuff. lawrence o'donnell for, professor marjorie cohn against the nominee elena kagan, next. pizza & breadsticks.
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the more authentic debate about whether elena kagan is the right choice for the supreme court is occurring amongst progressives. and our fourth story, why do the 70s always get the conservatives but we don't get the liberals? what the hell is that all about, unquote? senator harkins said that while solicitor kagan was being merely considered for the choice since the actual nomination is sentiment is growing and with more specificity. i believe kagan's answbsolute silence speaks poorly of her. many progressives argued that the bush-cheney governing template was a grave threat to our political system and rule of
law. kagan's supposed silence on such issues has been disputed. in 2005 she and three other deans of major american law schools wrote to senator patrick leahy to oppose legislation that would strip court of reviewing the practices. quoting the letter -- meantime republican leaders may be settling on their attack, the ranking republican jeff sessions. >> the nominee has thin experience, has had some very aggressive political views in her life. it's going to be critical that whoever puts on the robe of the supreme court justice that they be committed to following the law even if they don't like it, even if they wish it had been different.
>> first part sounded like a self-description by the senator. gop senators say they want to see kagan's memos from her time as domestic policy adviser to clinton. let's turn to msnbc political analyst lawrence o'donnell who supports the kagan nomination. lawrence, good evening. >> good to be here. >> let's bring in thomas jefferson school law professor marjorie cohen who opposed the nomination. good evening to you. >> good evening, keith. >> the kind of executive power expanded under the bush administration, some continued under the obama administration. how does solicitor general kagan fare on that topic? >> well, there were policies during the bush administration that led to torture and abuse of prisoners, indefinite detention of boys in cages, spying on americans without warrants, the use of military commissions, using state secrets privilege to
keep people who had been tortured out of court. quite frankly, kagan agreed with lindsey graham last year during her confirmation hearing for solicitor general when she agreed we were at war. of course, this war on terror misnomer. terror is a tactic. she agreed the war is a battlefield and prisoners could be held indefinitely. that is alarming. >> lawrence, was that statement by the then nominee for solicitor general her opinion, statement of law, assessment of fact. what was it, in your opinion? >> based on my experience in senate confirmation hearings i believe it was a statement to get through the hearing. it was a very general statement in response to a general comment made by lindsey graham. i don't think there is enough in it to tell us how she will rule
on relevant cases in that territory. that is what this is all about. we get into this guessing game how someone is going to perform as a supreme court justice using little tiny clues of evidence in their background. this is a new game. it is a modern game. we have been wrong at it a lot. i know marjorie is a great fan of justice stevens who is considered the great liberal on the court. he was a nixon judge. richard nixon made him a federal judge and jerry ford made him a supreme court justice. i assume, marjorie, you were opposed to his nomination at the time he was raised to the supreme court? >> i think i was pretty young then so i can't quite remember. look, you had bush appoints souder, you have to look at clues because she has a poszty of a report. she hasn't been a judge. she's hardly practiced law.
for someone who has been an academic at two of the nation's leading law schools, chicago and harvard she wrote no legal scholarship about the important constitutional issues of the day. we have to guess where she comes down. >> lawrence, that begs a significant point. as senator harkin pointed out, why does it seem the conservatives get conservative nominees to this court and liberals or progressives get question marks? >> well, the conservatives have often been fooled. as often as they have been satisfied by what they got. they were fooled by justice stevens. they were fooled by souder. it is true the liberal moving through the confirmation process is politically more risky than the conservative. that is the accepted wisdom, the conventional wisdom within the senate on getting these
confirmations done. elena kagan has deliberately kept her own counsel on anything controversial in this hearing. when we first discussed this vacancy, i said there are manchurian candidates who have hid what they think so they can build a career to get through the tortured and modern confirmation process we did not used to have as recently as pretelevision age. >> professor, are there things about this choice, this nomination that are on the record you have objections to? is there even might be a thin senator sessions term of her experience, it might be thin, but is there enough there to go on and might in these hearings pertain to objections on your part? >> during her solicitor general confirmation hearing she said "the constitution generally
imposes limitations on government rather than establishes affirmative rights and thus has what might be thought of as a libertarian slant. i fully accept this traditional understanding." well, has she read the constitution lately? there is a right to counsel. there is a right to jury trial. there is a right to petition the government and on and on and on. that is worrisome. she said at another point i don't think there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. she counselled president clinton to ban late-term abortions. i think pro-choice people should be very, very worried about this nomination. in terms of what i would like to hear her say at the confirmation hearing, the right wingers are unabashed. they are right wing idealogs. they are not neutral cautious moderates. they clearly have a judicial philosophy. i would love to hear her say my judicial philosophy is human
rights are more important than property interests. everybody has a right to self-determination, other countries, women over their bodies, people about who they're going to marry. those are the kinds of things i would like to hear her say at the confirmation hearing and she's not going to. she has been hiding who she is all this time. when bush was overreaching in an unprecedented way law professors were speaking out, were writing, complaining, objecting. elena kagan was silent. that speaks volumes. >> professor marjorie cohn, author of "cowboy republic." lawrence o'donnell of msnbc and the huffington post. great thanks for the debate and for keeping it civil. >> thank you, keith. >> that was easy. >> remember, it could be worse. we could be dealing with the british elections, labor loses, conservatives don't win enough. the conservative lib dem deal
falls through, the labor lib dem deal falls through. the prime minister quits his seat in parliament. ahead on "countdown." you always end up with something delicious. ♪ triscuit. weave some goodness. [ monkey screeches ] ♪ [ male announcer ] a bath becomes even more pleasurable when you know that your water is being heated in an environmentally conscious way, while saving you hundreds of dollars on your water heating energy bill. introducing the geospring water heater from ge with advanced hybrid technology. heating the water in your home any other way is just going to seem primitive. ♪
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prime minister. the queen is the prime minister? let's play "oddball." in tunisia where bee sting therapy is making a comeback after thousands of years the procedure is based on venom acting as natural medicine. instead of injecting it, the quacks, the doctors let the bees sting the patient in certain pressure points. the treatment is believed by some to ease pain, cure diabetes, cure cancer perhaps. patients can develop their own honey and develop a hive mentality. >> no, that wasn't her. the abundance of the great outdoors.
she breeds marsupials. wallabies. there are wallabies in the house. these critters act as living lawn mowers. they eat the grass to the correct height for a price. top eaters fetch $1,500 and you need a half acre of land. a necessity, a very high fence. finally to our friends at itv news, libby wiener wrapping up the exciting coverage of the new british government with a protester already in progress. watch what appears to be a staffer trying to intervene on the left. >> now if you wander around the corridors now there san extraordinary atmosphere. mps with grins on their faces. they have literally are out sniffing the air, scenting that power. having said that they do know this is going to be a very difficult thing to get to work.
>> exit stage left. >> the real story of what she was reporting on before the slight fisticuffs. the united kingdom has a result from the election. gordon brown isn't quit something gordon brown is quitting? gordon brown has quit. down by the lake or... fishing at the shore. i'm breathing better... with spiriva. announcer: spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled maintenance treatment for both forms of copd, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. i take it every day. it keeps my airways open... to help me breathe better all day long. and it's not a steroid. announcer: spiriva does not replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms. stop taking spiriva and call your doctor right away if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, have vision changes or eye pain or have problems passing urine. tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, problems passing urine or an enlarged prostate, as these may worsen with spiriva. also discuss the medicines you take, even eye drops. side effects include dry mouth, constipation
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two days, three resignations. our third story on the coup "countdown," gordon brown is out, david cameron is in and the man who first formed the coalition government liberal at democrat nick clegg will be the deputy prime minister serving to his philosophical and political opposite. after announcing he would step aside by september and seal a coalition with nick clegg, gordon brown resigning as labor leader, as a member of the british parliament marking the
end of 13 years of labor rule. above all, it was a privilege to serve. not for its prestige or titles and ceremony, which i do not love at all. no, i loveth job to make this country more fairer and more prosperous and more just. truly a greater britain. >> times of london crediting labor party infighting with ultimately sinking the deal with the lib dems, mr. brown joined by his family and taking one walk on downing street before offering his resignation to the queen. and then conservative david cameron's turn to become the queen's 12th prime minister. winston churchill her first, died before mr. cameron was born. in the meantime, mr. brown heading to labor headquarters to thank supporters as one era came to a close. the new one, david cameron and his wife, man is that, arriving at their new home, samantha, out
lining his vision. >> i aim to form a proper and full coalition between the conservatives and the liberal democrats. i believe that is the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that i think we need so badly. nick clegg and i are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest. >> president obama calling mr. cameron late this afternoon emphasizing his commitment to the special relationship between the two nations and just a short time ago, mr. clegg, the king maker in the equation acknowledging his new partnership with mr. cameron. >> we are politicians herely of different political parties. but i believe we are now united. in wishing to tack it will immense challenges this country faces will be problems and
glitches. but i'll always do my best to that new politics isn't just possible, it is also better. >> joining me now, just back from london, jillian tatt. >> thanks for coming on. >> it looks like the lib dem labor deal seemed set and gordon brown had resigned as the lib dem's wanted as the first price. what happened thereafter? do we know? >> this has been a extraordinary 24 hours for british politics. unusually exciting. essential what 150e78s to hahap is he resigned to try to created a labor/liberal democrat alliance. but the tories outed by labor and struck a deal with nick clegg. >> to the idea of outbidding, the former home secretary from the labor party, he accused the lib dems of -- quote, behaving like every harlet in history.
what do they get? the price, supposedly, was complete voting reform. did they get that? were they not offered that from labor? >> i think it's pretty rich to accuse the liberal democrats of behaving like harlets. they've behaved like politicians and nick clegg is battling to get the best deal for his party and that's probably better for him. he's played his hand pretty well. he appears to have the key demand which was a referendum on electoral reform. it remains to be seen what happens in practice down the road, but that's pretty important and quite a victory for the liberal democrats. >> as you suggest, there is some sort of -- at first glance, a kind of disbelief that this is the coalition that would work for four years or, perhaps, longer. can it practically work with the ideological differences between
the two parties that are part of this deal? >> there are certainly ideological differences on things like defense and europe, the two parties are a way apart. but remember two things. one, the next few years it's going to be the economy, fiscal policy. what are you doing about taxes and spending that are going to be on top. on that, there's quite a lot of room for agreement. and there's a lot of good chemistry between david cameron and nick clegg and that matters when it comes to the crunch. >> to your first point, the economy. i guess the reason for room for agreement is there's very little else to do in the british economy at the moment other than cut? after the vote came in inconclusive, on friday we had matt frey from bbc america and i said, maybe brown might think the best ultimate result is to get out of the way and let the conservatives do the budgetary
blood-letting that the next six months will require. let them take the blame and then labor can be the good guy. they didn't plan it that way but might that be the outcome? >> the reality is whoever comes in now, frankly, in many ways what you want right now is someone who is going to be expendable. almost like a economic winston churchill. someone that can say, we need to rally around and make some tough decisions. but this will be my last job of my career and then i'll ride off into the sunset. i'm not sure they have that in place right now but nobody is going to have this job to be in charge of the country and be popular in a couple years' time. >> what's the guess on the low end of the betting line of how short a period of time that collingswood might last? >> how long is a piece of string? >> i think right now the liberal democrats have a lot of incentive to try to make this work. they haven't been in power for a very long time. they're not quite in power but they're closer to power than
they've been for a generation so they need to try to make it work. and i think david cameron recognizes that he needs to try to make it work, too. for britain as a whole, we need a government to rally people and get the pull together the spirit that will enable them to take the tough decisions. >> that will be the damnest thing since then. gillian, thanks so much for your time. the anti-gay minister who turned the pros from rent boy -- who turned the pros from rent boy to find someone to carry his luggage has now resigned from his group that tries to quote, heal" unquote, gays. >> and this is no reason for fox and friends to blame "the new york times." and at the top of the hour, on the rachel maddow show, massive finger-pointing on capitol hill at the oil spill
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the phrase the officer used as he kicked the hispanic suspect, i'll kick the blank mexican blank out of you, homie, you feel me. "worst persons." this man's program to cure away the gay. he's resigned from it. after having hired a professional from the website rent boy to "carry his luggage." michael musto's thoughts ahead. my doctor said most calcium supplements...
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a man who ran a therapy program to cure gays caught coming back from a trip with a gay escort. he's now re-signed from the therapy program. and no more field trips. commentary tonight from michael musto. that is next, first tonight's "worst persons of the world. a man in texas, police pulled him over for driving with a defective headlight, they discovered his suspended license and the court paperwork in pot possession charge in which was allegedly wrapped some pot. runner up, brian kill immediate of cluster fox and friends, fixed news fabricates the liberal media is sympathetic to the fireworks bomber. do media outlets like the "new york times" aid and abet terrorists some say they do that
helping the times square bomber plan his attack. >> some say brian kill immediate just wears a tie. his use of disposable cell phones was inspired by a 2009 times article of how the government tracks suspected terrorists. when the bush white house charged this, revealing this secret the company that got the equipment had boasted of this system on its website. it is nonsecret, nonincrypted nongovernmental website. some say brian kill meade is made out of green cheese. a police officer has been taken off duty after a video shows him kicking a suspect in the head after spewing racial slurs after hispanic looking suspects rob somebody with a machete.
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naked massages with minister. george allen rekers has resigned from his group that claims to cure the gay away. new details of the minister's relationship with his rent boy have emerged. michael musto joins me presently. this was the picture published a week ago on the "miami new times" website. reporters were tipped off that george allen rekers, the family research council, visited rentboy.com to hire a male prostitute to "carry his luggage." the rent boy with the blurred face calls himself lucienne. he name is giovanni roman. roman unblurred told cnn about the minister's alleged request for a cover up. >> he just didn't want me to mention the massage aspect, you
know. >> and he asked you not to? >> yeah. he had asked me not to. >> today the new times published new details quoting the website roman explains he gaves rekers the same massage that involves a technique the minister calls the long stroke twice before traveling together. must be a medical term. rekers gave the long goodbye to the national association of search and therapy for homosexuality. narth. reckers had been fired by florida in 2007 to testify as an expert witness in a trial regarding the ban on gay adoption. florida's attorney general now the republican candidate for governor paid rekers $120,000 for his expert testimony later deemed not credible. mccollum's testimony was printed in "the "miami herald."" our attorneys have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable
expertise and have been unable to identify anyone available for this case. michael musto joins us, the village voice columnist. good evening, michael. >> hello, keith. >> should any of us be surprised by this particular formula? >> it is so trite. show mem a homophobe without a rent boy. i'll show you a political candidate without a love child. it is a matter of moments before you find the hustler in the closet with a card swipe machine and a publicist. >> you can't possibly be this because you do so much to oppose it in public, correct? >> you are uncomfortable with your own leaning so you make it impossible for everyone else. he puts the broken hip in hypocrisy. >> minister rekers helped found the family research council.
why didn't the guy just claim he was doing research? >> he's been researching his entire life. researching hair color, body types, confidentability agreements. there's no justification for what he does. he is a slime who has shattered lives with the hypocrisy. he testified against gay adoption. his idea of gay adoption is squiering a hustler around europe. this is polanski family values. >> rekers claim his friend was rented to carry luggage around europe because he had a bad back. roman says there was nude massages, no sex. who are you believing. this phrase he was just carrying my luggage. is that in the lexicon of colorful euphemisms. >> tiger woods has several and jesse james. i'm leading with roman's side of the story. a hustler never lies except for last night.
if somebody needs a luggage carrier, you tip somebody and you did not tip $200. and then again, -- the joke still works. >> by the way on scale of one to ten that was in terms of danger, that was like a three. isn't the worst part the reputation of this august group narth? they are shot. are there any reputable gay to straight conversion groups around and what about straight to gay conversion groups? >> there is a straight to gay conversion group. liza minnelli. you date her and you start dancing around in a boa. narth, should change its name, could hold up a naked picture of rekers and they would convert you immediately. >> michael musto.
great thanks. i'm not going say anything about that last joke. >> just a joke. >> that is "countdown" for 2,567th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in iraq. i'm keith olbermann. good night and good luck. more on the finger pointing with senator bob menendez. ladies and gentlemen, in for rachel maddow. here is chris hayes.